Personal Information Authentication Defeated Bad Actors
Equipped with identity information from cybersecurity breaches such as the 2017 Equifax data breach, criminals could locate Georgia residents and attempt to make fake claims in their names. The state sought assistance in identity verification and ultimately paid $23 billion in benefits to 1.5 million families, May said.
Over the course of 15 months, the Georgia Department of Labor paid as much in benefits as it had in the previous 80 years combined. “We had more work than we ever had to do, and it had to be done yesterday,” May said.
In about a week, the agency had implemented a technology solution, but the amount of data to process was still overwhelming. “The technology part is always the easy part. The people part takes a while,” May said. Congress and the state legislature, meanwhile, continued to press the agency to make claim payments.
After Georgia implemented identity verification measures, one third of rejected claimants immediately abandoned their claims, suggesting “absolute fraud,” May said.
“When they hit a roadblock in one place, they just moved on to the next one and then the next one,” May said of bad actors filing false claims with various states.
Ultimately, the state verified only 47 percent of applicants, May said. Through identity verification, Georgia prevented an estimated $10 billion in fraudulent payments.
Speaking on the same NASCIO 2021 panel, Georgia CTO Steve Nichols said bad actors will persist in trying to find ways to defeat identity verification systems.
“The fraudsters were continuing to up their game. It became “Spy vs. Spy.” They were coming up with new things and sharing information on the dark web on ways to defeat this,” Nichols said.
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